If you take the time to look, you never know what you might find. If you get off the interstate and drive the old highways, you’ll pass through mostly forgotten towns and see… well, you never know. You might see the startling beauty of tended fields and wild mountains. You might see heartbreaking loss and depravity. You never know what you might find when you take the time to look.
A friend of mine told me a story about driving the back roads of Georgia. My friend drove through a town and saw a tragic thing. He saw the old blackened timbers of a church that had burned some months before. It was obviously beyond repair, but you could still make out the shape of it. As he crawled by in his car at the 25 mph speed limit of Small Town, GA, he noticed that right next to this burned out building was the new church being built up. And it looked exactly the same as the old one.
He shook his head as he told me this story. He said, “Rory, they could have built anything. They could have dreamed any shape for the church to be. But instead of becoming something greater, they are rebuilding exactly what came before.”
When the leadership began to consider what Lent might be this year, we agreed that our usual mode of fasting, removal, or denial was probably not quite right for this time. We’ve all been giving up plenty as individuals and as a church. We’re not doing plenty.
That said, change is coming. Vaccines are coming. The pandemic will come to an end. We will begin to rebuild our lives. The question we’re all considering is: what will our lives look like on the other side? We could just rebuild exactly like it was before. We could have the same frantic routines, the same petty rituals, the same life that we had before. Or, we could build something better.
So this year, instead of focusing on what we might give up for Lent, let’s consider what we might create or build in this season. Let’s meditate on these Scriptures over the next several weeks and commit ourselves to not rebuilding exactly what came before, but rebuilding a better life.
These blog posts are meant to be flexible enough to fit your family and your availability.
- Personal Devotion—you can read each week’s lesson as a personal time to consider the week’s Scripture.
- Family Devotion—you can gather those in your home to explore the activities and Scriptures as a family, discussing your discoveries together.
- Group Study—you can gather a small group of people to meet virtually to discuss the Scriptures and your discoveries together.
You could make some combination of the two or do all three if you’re motivated!
When you are ready, simply find the week’s lesson by date. Remember that we’ll be focusing on these Scriptures in the worship services on Sunday mornings. To get the most out of this guide, complete the lesson BEFORE the next Sunday after it has been posted.
For all of the lessons, you will need a pen or a pencil and something to write on. Yes, really. Don’t look at me like that. Writing stuff down has been proven to make it stick in our brains better, so find a literal sheet of paper and be ready to write some stuff.
Each lesson (save one) is designed to take about 10-15 minutes. Take that time. Silence your phone, clear out your schedule, turn off the TV. Be present to what God is trying to say. If nothing life-changing happens in 15 minutes, that’s OK. Sometimes, the act of showing up is all that’s required of us.
We pray that this guide helps as you celebrate the season of Lent, anticipating the full light of Easter Sunday.